President's Message



Phone: 02 9242 4000 
[email protected]

Local Government NSW President Linda Scott.

26 March 2021 

Community and Council Flood and Disaster Recovery Support
Our thoughts are with councils and their flood-affected communities, including the tens of thousands of people who have been evacuated from their homes and 34 local government areas officially declared a natural disaster area.

The repair bill will be immense and the recovery effort will be long and demanding.

Local government will once again be at the forefront of those efforts, just as it was when communities were devastated by droughts, bushfires and COVID-19.

This week, we have successfully advocated to ensure councils in flood affected areas will have access to NSW Government support to help with the cost of cleaning up and restoring damaged essential public assets.

The NSW Government has also listened to our calls and waived waste disposal fees imposed on flood-effected councils and their communities.

Those whose homes or belongings have been damaged will also be eligible for help, while affected small businesses may be eligible for concessional interest rate loans.

People are being urged not to donate unwanted goods to flood-affected communities. We have advocated for the NSW Government and not-for-profit organisation GIVIT to coordinate donations through various charities to ensure communities have access to appropriate critical resources.

Find out more

And, of course, any affected councils are encouraged to contact us at Local Government NSW if they need any advocacy or other assistance.

Council-to-council assistance
We welcome that the State Government has reactivated the Local Government Emergency Recovery Support Group (LGERSG), originally initiated through a partnership between Local Government NSW, City of Sydney and the Office of Local Government (OLG) to coordinate council-to-council assistance

The group, originally formed in response to last summer’s bushfires, will provide coordinated support for councils in flood-affected areas from non-affected councils to help their communities – everything from debris and food waste removal, removal of mud from homes, street sweeping, road and fencing repairs to park and sports ground clean-ups.

Councils can contact the LGERSG on [email protected].

Superannuation and rate reform update
It is disappointing that the all-important Local Government Amendment Bill (2021) was not resolved in the NSW Upper House this week and, as a result, debate and discussion over the Bill will continue when Parliament sits again in May.

The Bill is a critical piece of legislation for councils and urgent, especially with fast-approaching council elections in September, with major reforms to rates and superannuation to councillors, to name just two key issues.

Councils and their communities already have enough issues on their plates and deserve legislative certainty.

LGNSW will continue to work with all Parliamentary parties to get these vital changes through. I urge the Government to pursue these proposals as soon as possible.

Regional and rural health inquiry
I welcome the first hearings of the parliamentary inquiry into rural, regional and remote health and hospital services in NSW and look forward to the coming six rounds of hearings in regional centres, before a return to NSW Parliament in July.

Action on this crisis has been a key issue for rural and regional councils and their communities for decades, reflected through multiple resolutions of the Local Government NSW Annual Conference.

Local Government NSW has made improving rural and regional health services one of its advocacy priorities for 2021, and LGNSW’s submission to the inquiry calls for urgent action from the State and Federal governments.

In the meantime, it is important to highlight the ongoing tireless work of councils in supporting the health and wellbeing of their communities when other spheres of government have failed to meet their responsibilities.

For more information, email Elle Brunsdon, LGNSW Policy Officer Elle Brunsdon.

Locally Led campaign launch
We are very excited to be hosting the official launch of LGNSW’s Locally Led: Working Together for a Better NSW campaign next month.

The breakfast event will feature key State Government Ministers as well as many of your local government colleagues and will be a fantastic opportunity for exchanging ideas and networking.

Most importantly, it will be the official launchpad of our Locally Led campaign, designed to foster stronger support for councils and stronger partnership between all levels of government.

Our councils have been through the crucible in the past 18 months, providing frontline support through droughts, bushfires, COVID-19 and, of course, floods.

You have demonstrated again and again how critical the role of local government is in leading your communities in the recovery process, including economic recovery, from disasters and setbacks.

But councils can’t do it alone. We just do not have the financial base. Substantial support from the State and Federal governments for councils is an essential key to recovery, resilience, and growth of our local communities.

Our Locally Led campaign is about recognising and fostering the important relationship between councils and the other levels of government. We all have the same goals – supporting our communities for a stronger NSW – and true partnership is the key.

I hope you can help us send this critical message to Government and join us for our breakfast launch on Wednesday, April 21.

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